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Subtitles, Transcoding, MKV & Roku 2

thornomadthornomad Posts: 24Members, Plex Pass
Hello! I've can't believe I didn't find Plex sooner! This is amazing and gives me reason to finally digitize all my DVDs/Blu Rays. Very exciting.

I want to get a Roku 2 so I can stream to my TV ... had a question about subtitle support (which is a must for me): I have been expirementing ripping my DVDs with Handbrake (High Profile, MKV) and embedding a soft-sub "closed caption" track directly in the MKV file. Playback is perfect in the Plex desktop client and in VLC without any transcoding (crystal clear captions) - when I send it to my iOS devices (iPad/iPhone), I noticed it is getting transcoded (which makes sense, since iOS doesn't support MKV and anyway so Plex must be pulling out the captions and re-encoding it on the video stream which is fine, it's a small screen anyway).

My question is: will MKV files also be transcoded for my soon-to-exist Roku 2 if I have embedded captions? Will the captions even work?

I have been trying to read up on it and it looks like Roku 2 supports MKV and it supports subtitles as SRT files, but not embedded subtitles (in USB mode) ... but I wonder if Plex someone pulls the srt file out of the MKV container and sends it to the Roku box as a separate stream ... does anyone have any experience with this?

Since my Roku will become my "go to" gateway to Plex-aweseome-ness I want to make sure I am ripping a format that doesn't have to be transcoded. Even if that means using an SRT file.

Thanks,
Damon

PS: am grateful for everyone's work on this ... thanks!

Comments

  • amlucentamlucent Posts: 158Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited December 2011
    Hi, I just set up plex at my dads house this past weekend. He bought 3 Roku2 boxes as clients to go on his TVs. Your mileage may vary, but I found that the .mkv files didnt play as well as .mp4 files on the Roku2. I should say they played fine but it didnt want to fast forward and rewind them. My advice is to use mp4. If you are using handbrake just click the drop down to change container from mkv to mp4. You can burn in all default subtitles still also this should have the added benefit of being natively supported by your iOS clients. Oh another free tip, I found that if you encode a video file with more than 7 reference frames (Handbrake setting under the advanced tab) then the roku really doesnt like it, it will freeze during playback.... I wasted hours tracking down that problem. Good luck.


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  • thornomadthornomad Posts: 24Members, Plex Pass
    Thanks for the feedback - I think I may be just waiting to get a Roku so I can play with it before I do all my discs. Which is quite a project. Smile.

    Did you, by chance, play with the subtitles? I'm not a huge fan of burning the subtitle on the video track because it doesn't scale very well - text subs are much cleaner.

    Thanks for your quick reply and your suggestions.

    Damon
  • dead.electricdead.electric Posts: 18Members
    Some additional tips for making direct streaming compatible .mkv's or .mp4's from DVD's (I haven't noticed any issues with the .mkv format, but YMMV):

    -Add string "level=40" into Handbrake "Advanced Settings" to keep H.264 level <= 4.0.
    -Downmix to 2-channel audio
    (unless you really want the 5.1, in which case you will need a Roku 2 and wait for the 5.1 fix to come out...)

    My experience is that Handbrake is so slow and unreliable at encoding direct from the DVD (due to copy protection), that it is much less headache-inducing to rip the titles I want with MakeMKV, or else rip the whole ISO with a DVD ripping program, and THEN queue up a bunch of Handbrake encodes. Again, YMMV...
  • jwrayjwray Posts: 1,268Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    As an FYI one of the other users has been working on getting native srt subtitle support working. Ie if there's an srt file tell PMS to ignore it and so not trigger burning in and transcoding, and send the srt file URL directly to the Roku and let it deal with it.

    Not sure how far he's got but it is probably the best solution for subtitles once it works. The same user also fixed some bugs with the current subtitle and alternative audio track support that will be pushed with the next release.

    Jonny
  • thornomadthornomad Posts: 24Members, Plex Pass
    Jonny Wray wrote:

    As an FYI one of the other users has been working on getting native srt subtitle support working. Ie if there's an srt file tell PMS to ignore it and so not trigger burning in and transcoding, and send the srt file URL directly to the Roku and let it deal with it.

    Not sure how far he's got but it is probably the best solution for subtitles once it works. The same user also fixed some bugs with the current subtitle and alternative audio track support that will be pushed with the next release.

    Jonny


    Wow! Great news - as soon as I get it I'll jump on the beta channel and do some testing - do you know which user it was? I will direct message them when I get things up and running. Thanks for the heads up. Seems like a really pro-subtitle community. I'm appreciative of that (as folks in my family need subtitles to watch the movies).

    Ta
  • jwrayjwray Posts: 1,268Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
  • if you use makeMKV [http://www.makemkv.com/], to rip your stuff, you'll be able to rewind, even use the skip button without cycling through the videos. i used it, the other night, to rip a video and used the default embed setting for subtitles. the subtitles come up automatically, on every device that i play it on except for my mother's TLC Roku II television [usb key plugged directly into the usb port]. since it does fine on every other device, i wonder if there's anything in the device settings of the television to bring them up there?

  • @braneugbolhuis@gmail.com said:
    if you use makeMKV [http://www.makemkv.com/], to rip your stuff, you'll be able to rewind, even use the skip button without cycling through the videos. i used it, the other night, to rip a video and used the default embed setting for subtitles. the subtitles come up automatically, on every device that i play it on except for my mother's TLC Roku II television [usb key plugged directly into the usb port]. since it does fine on every other device, i wonder if there's anything in the device settings of the television to bring them up there?

    correction: http://www.rokoding.com/subtitles.html#sthash.2Az2u9Ca.dpbs ... and it is the DVD native subtitling that's embedded in my MKVs.

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